Risks of not going green are 'too vast to ignore'

Failing to prepare for the shift to a low carbon economy could put a company's value seriously at risk in sectors such as car and aluminium production, according to a new study.

But the report from the Carbon Trust said there were also major opportunities to increase a business's value by as much as 80 per cent by taking positive steps to tackle emissions and develop new technology.

The study, based on research by McKinsey & Co, looked at six sectors - aluminium, automotive, oil and gas production and exploration, oil and gas refining, consumer electronics, building materials and beer - which together are worth some $7tr globally.

The report says a business which fails to take the steps needed to cope with the kind of emissions cuts the world will need in the coming years could see as much as two-thirds of its value put at risk.

Companies in the building materials and automotive trades stand to gain the most if they take action now, for example by developing cars with low emissions which customers still want to buy.

But while in some industries, such as oil and gas production or beer manufacturing, there is no opportunity to boost a company's value, all six sectors will put value at risk by failing to act, the study said.

The risk ranges from 7 per cent for consumer electronics, to 65 per cent for aluminium and automotive firms.

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, said: "Climate change will cause a revolution in business and our findings should act as a trillion dollar wake up call to the investment and business communities.

"Companies and investors that prepare now and develop new strategies will reap the commercial rewards of the move to a low carbon economy.

"The financial risks of inaction are just too vast to ignore.

"We can see a trillion dollars of company value change, with leading, well-positioned companies gaining and badly positioned or slow companies losing out."

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